Ajax Cape Town coach Stanley Menzo hopes for more of the same against Mamelodi Sundowns


The Urban Warriors endured a dour run of results last month, going seven league matches without a win before finally clinching victory against Highlands Park, and then following that up with a 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows on Saturday.

Next up for Ajax, who have this weekend off as the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals take centre stage, is the daunting trip to Loftus Versfeld to face African champions Sundowns on Tuesday, and while Menzo knows his side will need to be at their best, he is quietly confident they can come away with a positive result.

"We can do much better. Against Arrows, I was very proud with the way we played. Let's hope we can continue this upward trend," the coach said during Thursday's pre-match press conference.

"There is plenty of motivation [against Sundowns], we want to get out of this situation [relegation threat] and move further up the standings.

"Sundowns are strong on the ball, it's important we stay in the game, important that we don't give away early goals - they [Sundowns] have weaknesses."

When asked about the impact made by rising star Grant Margeman this term, the coach said: "Grant gives something extra that makes the team perform better. We spoke to the players - it is good to listen as well.

"We have to be careful with Grant, though, he is still young and has a lot to learn but the greatest thing is that he is so natural."

However, the coach reiterated he will not stand in the way of Margeman's participation with the South Africa Under-20s at the FIFA U20 World Cup, saying: "I have a very good relationship with [Amajita coach] Thabo Senong - it is good that he [Margeman] plays here [at Ajax], but he will go to the World Cup.

Menzo didn't only single out Margeman's efforts against Arrows, though, with the coach impressed with a number of his players, adding: "Roscoe [Pietersen] and Rivaldo [Coetzee] played well vs Arrows, Nathan [Paulse] came in well and Mark [Mayambela] had his freedom back."

Ajax will, however, face Sundowns without Paulse, who misses the match through suspension, while there are also doubts over the availabilities of Neo Makua and Ndiviwe Mdabuka.